Mortgage

Walter Investment CEO resigning, next CEO will be companyÕ 5th in 2 years

Company also plans to change name to Ditech Holding Corp.

For the fifth time in just over two years, Walter Investment Management Corp. is looking for new CEO.

The nonbank announced late Thursday that Anthony Renzi, who took over in September 2016, is leaving the company.

According to Walter, Renzi will stay on as CEO and president while the company searches for a replacement for the fifth time since October 2015.

The CEO carousel started when Mark O’Brien, the company's former chairman and CEO, announced he was retiring in October 2015.

Denmar Dixon, served as Walter’s vice chairman of the board, chief investment officer and executive vice president, took over as president and CEO upon O’Brien’s departure.

But Dixon only served in the role for eight months, resigning in June 2016.

After Dixon left, Walter Investment chose George Awad to fill in as executive chairman and interim CEO while the company’s board searched for a permanent CEO.

Awad brought experience to the position, having spent more than two decades with General Electric and Citigroup, including serving in leadership positions in Citibank as CEO of Global Consumer Bank in Europe Middle East and Africa. 

Awad’s tenure was short-lived though, as the company named Renzi as its CEO in August 2016. Renzi came to Walter from Citi as well, where he served as the chief operating officer, managing director and head of operations for Citi’s North America retail bank, commercial bank and CitiMortgage.

Renzi took over officially in September 2016, but now Renzi is set to leave too.

Renzi’s departure comes at a time when the company is in the middle of going through bankruptcy.

The company announced back in December that it planned to declare bankruptcy as part of a prepackaged restructuring plan that aims to eliminate $800 million in debt.

The move came after years of losses taking a toll on the company’s bottom line.

In 2016, the company posted a total net loss for the year to $529.2 million, or $14.71 per share, compared to a net loss of $263.2 million, or $7 per share, in 2015.

And 2017’s results weren’t much better. Through the first three quarters of 2017, Walter posted a total net loss of $213.86 million.

Earlier this month, Walter announced that its bankruptcy plan had been approved by the court, but earlier this week, the company revealed that it would be in bankruptcy for a little longer than originally expected.

When the company announced that its bankruptcy plan was approved by the court, it also announced that it would have a new board of governors upon its exit from bankruptcy.

In a fact that seemed odd at the time, but now appears telling in retrospect, Walter said that Renzi would be leaving the company’s board as part of its reorganization.

But now, the board isn’t the only thing that Renzi is leaving. He’s leaving the big office at Walter too.

In a release, the company said that it expects to hire an executive search firm to identify and evaluate internal and external candidates to succeed Renzi.

Awad, who currently serves as chairman of the board, thanked Renzi for his time leading the company.

“Under Tony’s leadership, Walter has transformed into a more focused and efficient company that is well positioned to build on the strengths of its core business to drive future growth and success,” Awad said in a statement.

“With the upcoming completion of our court-supervised financial restructuring efforts, we believe that this is the right time to transition leadership and prepare for Walter’s next chapter,” Awad continued. “We are focused on identifying a strong leader who shares our commitment to creating value by continuously enhancing the customer experience. We thank Tony and appreciate his continued support as the board conducts a thoughtful and comprehensive search for Walter’s next CEO.”

Renzi said that he is “proud” of what the company accomplished during his time there.

“I am proud of all that we have accomplished to transform Walter by focusing on our core business, reducing costs and undertaking a financial restructuring process that will enable the company to focus its resources on strengthening the areas that are critical to its success,” Renzi said.

“I am confident that our next CEO and the rest of the company’s outstanding employees will continue to build on the important progress we have made and will advance our mission of caring for our customers throughout the homeownership journey,” Renzi added. “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure a seamless transition.”

As it turns out, Renzi isn’t the only thing that Walter Investment is moving on from.

The company also disclosed Friday that it is leaving the name Walter Investment behind as well.

In a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Walter said that upon exiting from bankruptcy, it will be changing its name to Ditech Holding Corporation, adopting the name of its prominent subsidiary Ditech Financial.

The company did not provide any additional information on the reason for the name change.

The company also did not provide any more detail on when it plans to exit bankruptcy. Earlier this week, the company said that it would not be exiting bankruptcy before Feb. 2, 2018.

But in the release announcing Renzi’s departure, the company said that it now expects to emerge from bankruptcy “in the near-term.”

The company's latest 8-K filed with the SEC has more details about the name change and other financial information.

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